Insider attacks are typically covert in nature. In most instances, the perpetrator wants to remain in stealth mode sniffing and collecting sensitive data that must be exfiltrated. The data that the attacker seeks, is rich information such as customer private records, credit card data, research and development designs, business strategy and other business-sensitive information that, if compromised, could cause considerable damage to the company, its place in the industry, and its relationship with consumers or investors. Insider attacks are difficult to detect and traditional signature based techniques are often inaccurate and inefficient ways of identifying these types of attacks.
Another variant of an insider attack, is that of omnipresent occupational fraud, that costs companies billions of dollars each year. Occupational fraud may involve the simple stealing of office supplies, through to advanced schemes as evidenced in the rogue trader Jerome Kerviel who racked up trades worth 7 billion dollars.